Just finished Christianity and Liberalism, by Machen. Written in 1923. Note that, as you read. 1923. Hot stuff. Here are some gems as I wrapped up:

On staying or leaving a liberal church:
"Whether or no liberals are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity. And that being the case, it is highly undesirable that liberalism and Christianity should continue to be propagated within the bounds of the same organization. A separation between the two parties in the Church is the crying need of the hour." (160).
To the cry of "what about unity? and Why let trivial matters separate us?" he brilliantly responds that such objections beg the question of whether such matters ARE trivial. With the substitutionary atonement, salvation in Christ alone and other issues "in play" these days, that is hardly a clear-cut question.

"Another course of action is perfectly open to the man who desires to propogate 'liberal Christianity....' He may either unite himself with some other existing body or else found a new body to suit himself." (162)

"If there ought to be a separation between liberals and conservatives in the church why should not the conservatives be the ones to withdraw? Certainly it may come to that. If the liberal party really obtains full control of the councils of the church, then no evangelical Christian can continue to support the church's work" (166).

"Nothing engenders strife so much as a forced unity, within the same organization, of those who disagree fundamentally in aim" (167).

Then a great illustration at this point of how liberals contradict the beliefs of the church in which they teach. Republicans have their own party to combat Democrats, but the liberal method of "infiltration" is, by analogy, to have Republicans join the Democratic party, claiming to have Democrat beliefs, but then working against the sytem. Machen's main argument against this is that it is dishonest. I agree, but my rejoinder to Machen would be - all's fair in love and war. How can we expect the enemy to fight fair? He is the father of lies, after all...

Then a great section on ensuring ministers are on the right side of the battle, not sparing their feelings in examination before the Church: "it is strange how in the interest of an utterly false kindness to men, Christians are sometimes willing to relinquish their loyalty to the crucified Lord" (175).

On evangelism:
"Every man who has been truly redeemed from sin longs to carry to others the same blessed gospel through which he himself has been saved" (170).

On education:
"In countless cases, Christianity is rejected simply becuause men have not the slightest notion of what Christianity is" (176). The problem is that in the system, there is "an exaggerated emphasis on methodology at the expense of content and on what is materially useful at the expense of the high spiritual heritage of mankind" (176).

"One hears much, it is true, about Christian union and harmony and co-operation. But the union that is meant is often a union with the world against the Lord, or at best a forced union of machinery and tyrannical committees. How different is the true unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! (179)"


  1. By listing these quotation, I am led to believe that you feel it is time (or growing near to the time) that some should split away from their estabolished church (in our case, the RCA). Is that what you are suggesting?

    Thanks for sharing the quotations, they are indeed insightful and relavent to our day.

  2. I do see these quotes as applying generally to some dynamics in the RCA today.

    I'm not saying for sure it's time to go.

    As I read through Machen, I realized that he was dealing with a naturalism to which neo-Orthodoxy responded negatively, and that neo-Orthodoxy is strongly influential among those conservatives like to label "liberals," within the RCA.

    So I'm not as hard on RCA liberals as Machen was on his liberals. While seriously mistaken on views of Scripture and other areas, they do not have a different religion, etc.

    Thanks for the question, though I'm not real comfy having interchanges with "rogue," anonymous bloggers...

    If you could email me who you are, I'd appreciate it!

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  4. Of course, I understand. Except, I couldn't find an email address for you. You can get me at TheRogueMonk at gmail dot com. I'll get back to you right away.

    Oh, and by the way...if you look at my blog and your read RENew...you might figure it out. :)